Catching Up with Our Robotics Teams

Catching Up with Our Robotics Teams

When classes conclude for the day, students transition to any number of enriching afterschool activities. One popular offering is our bustling Robotics program, which gives Middle and Upper School students boundless opportunities to grow their STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) skills, to innovate and problem-solve with teammates, to flourish as confident and accomplished roboticists, and to have fun. Here are highlights of recent happenings:


Junior Bots
Our youngest Middle School students tackle a series of self-paced programming and building challenges. Working in pairs, Junior Bots recently finished constructing their “TACOBot” Lego robots and began the programming process. With the Spike Prime app on their school laptops, the students are learning to code movements, sounds, lights and more. For the final challenge, they will code their TACOBots’ journeys through a dizzying maze.

Coaches: Rowan Halpin (LS Science Associate Teacher), Sophie Pelletier (Class 2 Associate Teacher), Cassidy Washburn (Class 3 Associate Teacher)

Coding Bots
Students in Coding Bots embark on rewarding coding adventures using basic Python, a versatile and widely used programming language. Throughout the winter, they have delved into the wonderful world of programming, unleashing their creativity and honing their problem-solving, strategic-thinking and organizational skills. Through Imagilabs, the students have had the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of Python, which has not only equipped them with valuable technical skills, but it has also fostered critical thinking and imagination. As the year progresses, our Coding Bots will continue to gain skills and confidence through their passion for technology and innovation.

Coaches: Shalim Rodriguez (IT Support Specialist), Michelle Gelbs (US Science Teacher), Joanna Disini (MS Science Teacher)

First Lego League
For this year’s theme, our Middle School FLL students have been tasked with imagining and innovating new ways to create and communicate art across the globe. As such, our CongreGators have designed an innovation project called a “Vibe Vest,” which uses pressure points on the body connected to sensors to provide people who are deaf or hearing impaired with an immersive musical experience. As well, the students have been diligently working on coding and completing missions on the arts-themed gameboard.

On February 24, the Chapin CongreGators took the First Place Champion’s Award in the First Lego League Qualifiers at the Horace Mann School. Competing with 28 other New York City teams, our students received wonderful feedback and praise from the judges and the highest score in “Robot Games” (265 points). In the end, they earned a second-place Robot Performance

Award as well as a golden ticket to skip the semi-finals and go directly to the FLL championships, which will take place on March 10 at Francis Lewis High School in Queens. Best of luck to our accomplished team!

Coaches: Anna Mello (MS Science Teacher), Yolanda Martín (MS Spanish Teacher), Michelle Gelbs (US Science Teacher)

In the MakerBots’ program, students pursue individual projects using a variety of high- and low-tech tools. In the fall trimester, for example, students explored various STEAM activities with the goal of building skills to use in robot construction. They recently put together 30-piece lighting systems known as “IQ Lamps” and created “bug bots” using vibrating motors and LED lights. Currently, the MakerBots are rotating through units on soldering, designing and printing 3D models using Tinkercad, and fashioning simple projects based on the Arduino microcontroller. After these rotations have finished, students will begin constructing and programming robots to play Robosoccer, in the hope that they can host a Robosoccer scrimmage with other schools in the spring.

Coaches: David Arnstein (US Science Teacher), Joanna Disini (MS Science Teacher), Joseph Ali (Systems Administrator), Sehee Kim (MS Math Teacher)



The GatorBots spent the six weeks of “build season” building and programming their industrial size robot in the Hayot Center for Innovation (HCI). Working most afternoons and on Saturdays, this year’s team decided to enter not one but two upcoming regional FIRST Robotics competitions: the Hudson Valley Regional Competition, March 9-12, at Rockland Community College, and the New York City Regional, April 4-7, at The Armory in Washington Heights. The 2024 game is called “CRESCENDO” and is presented by Haas Game Animation.

Best of luck to our 12 industrious students as the GatorBots face off against high-school teams from across the New York area in this weekend’s contest!

Coaches: Dr. Prasad Akavoor (US Science Teacher) and Anthony Larson (Director of US Academic Technology)

Upper and Middle School Robotics at Chapin is made possible through the generosity of the Swarzman Family Robotics Program.